The Stone is Rolled Away
And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it... But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen as He said." (Matthew 28:2,5)
Lent falls in the season of darkness, as we await the brightness of the sun rising on the skyline. It is the time of examination, of new reckoning. It is the time of taking stock of habits and contemplating change. It is the time we can take to examine the heart and to re-evaluate where our treasure lies.
Jesus told the Pharisees that they were "like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness" (Matthew 23:27). Hidden under their expensive apparel was the deadness of their heart.
When the women came to the tomb that Easter morning, they expected to see a rotting body. Instead, they found an angel clothed in white and shining in heavenly brilliance telling them Jesus would not be found in the tomb. He had faced all of the ugliness of sin and conquered death. The stone was moved. Jesus was not there.
During this Lenten Season, we have the opportunity to examine our heart for any stony places, to look inside for hidden deadness, anger, or resentments. We can invite the Holy Spirit to shine his light on our sin and, through humility and repentance, receive forgiveness.
We can agree with the Apostle Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).
We can greet the sunrise of Easter morning with "He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!"
Heavenly Father, as we take time for reflection, help us to never forget the significance of the empty tomb, always looking forward to our Savior's return. In Jesus' name, Amen.